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Annex 4
Statement on Gender, Diversity, and Inclusion

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Diversity is one of Canada's foundational strengths. Since 2015, the federal government has enhanced consideration of gender and diversity to help ensure that government programs and services better meet the needs of all Canadians. Following the introduction of the Canadian Gender Budgeting Act in 2018, reporting on gender and diversity impacts has been an important requirement for all new budget decisions, which helps to build a Canada that works for and benefits everyone.

By ensuring that government initiatives take into account equality, fairness, and inclusion—from design to implementation—support can more effectively be targeted to the Canadians who need it the most, and existing socioeconomic inequalities can be addressed. By leveraging data to better track the impact of such initiatives, the federal government is making informed policy choices that are able to deliver real progress for all Canadians.

And we have made significant progress. With historic investments in affordable early learning and child care, Canada has helped a record number of women choose to both participate in the workforce and raise their family—because no one should be forced to choose between having a career or raising a child. In February of this year, we made historic investments in Canada's universal public health care system, which will ensure equitable access for all Canadians. Recent investments in workers and growing Canada's clean economy are creating good jobs that help workers support their families, while limiting the impacts of climate change on Canadians—providing significant long-term benefits to those who are disproportionately affected.

The federal government's economic plan has made ground-breaking investments in children, families, our environment, and our communities. This has built on Canada's fundamental strengths, including our strong social safety net, for the benefit of people today and for generations to come. These investments have helped Canada to lead the way in ensuring that our economy remains competitive into the future, that every child has the best start in life, and that we build an economy that works for all Canadians.

We know that Canadians are continuing to face real challenges with the higher cost of living, including in accessing affordable housing. Vulnerable Canadians—including seniors, persons with disabilities, 2SLGBTQI+, Indigenous, Black, and racialized people—face these challenges in disproportionate, unique ways.

Canada's economic plan, which is built upon in the 2023 Fall Economic Statement, continues to make investments to address these challenges and to build a Canada where everyone has a real and fair chance to succeed.

Canada's Housing Action Plan

Investing in housing is crucial to meeting the needs of all Canadians—but housing challenges are even more pressing for some. This includes seniors, who represent 17 per cent of those in unaffordable housing, many of whom are on fixed incomes; women escaping intimate-partner violence; and persons with disabilities, who may require barrier-free homes. As of 2019, according to Statistics Canada, women represented nearly 69 per cent of those experiencing hidden homelessness due to domestic violence. Persons with disabilities also face unique challenges: according to the 2017 Canadian Survey on Disability, 15.9 per cent of persons with disabilities were living in households in core housing need.

The 2023 Fall Economic Statement builds on the federal government's record investments in housing, by enhancing and expanding the Apartment Construction Loan Program and the Affordable Housing Fund to build more homes, faster. Federal programs such as the Rapid Housing Initiative and Reaching Home help ensure all Canadians have a place to call home, including those in core housing need and those experiencing or at risk of homelessness. Indigenous people, who represented 39 per cent of shelter users in 2021, while making up just 5 per cent of the Canadian population, will benefit from investments in the Urban, Rural, and Northern Indigenous Housing Strategy—following a by Indigenous, for Indigenous approach. While men are over-represented in the population of shelter users (nearly 68 per cent), women's needs may be underestimated due to lack of data from domestic violence shelters and the different ways they may experience homelessness.

Having a safe place to call home has a direct linkage to economic stability, good health and mental health outcomes, and lower incidences of domestic violence, family instability, and adverse childhood experiences. The federal government's plan to build more homes, faster, will particularly benefit the most vulnerable Canadians.

The 2023 Fall Economic Statement proposes measures that make it easier for Canadians and their families to find an affordable place to call home. This will have generational impacts for children growing up in safe and secure housing, who are then more able to have the best start in life and fully participate in all that Canada has to offer.

In growing communities across Canada, people need more homes, and they need more types of homes to meet a range of diverse needs—more multi-family and accessible units, more affordable and market-rate homes, and more rentals, co-ops, and affordable and community housing. The federal government is doing this work, with important housing partners across the country, including co-ops, non-profits, and Indigenous organizations.

Canada cannot succeed if some Canadians are left behind—which is why Canada's economic plan invests in a future where everyone has a safe and affordable place to call home.

As detailed in Chapter 1, measures include:

These housing investments will also indirectly benefit the construction sector. While this sector is primarily the domain of workers who are men (87.5 per cent, according to the Labour Force Survey 2023), recent government initiatives are helping to increase diversity. For example, federal investments such as the Apprenticeship Service and the Union Training and Innovation Program have promoted inclusion and accessibility for women, persons with disabilities, Black and racialized people, and Indigenous people. The Indigenous Skills and Employment Training Program also supports Indigenous organizations to provide labour market programming to help Indigenous people improve their skills and find employment. By building new housing, downstream effects provide new opportunities, such as for people who find new employment working in and maintaining new housing. Building more homes, faster, also supports job creation for the people working in the businesses and services that accompany new builds. For example, a new child care centre in a new housing complex requires early childhood educators, cooks, and cleaners, who could help increase demand for better public transit, in turn providing additional new employment opportunities over the long-term.

Supporting a Strong Middle Class

With elevated global inflation and the high cost of food, the government has delivered a suite of targeted policies to support the most vulnerable Canadians.

The rising cost of living has a disproportionate impact on lower-income households, who are more likely to spend a higher proportion of their income on essentials, such as housing and groceries. According to Statistics Canada, in 2019, Canadian households in the bottom income quintile spent more than half (51 per cent) of their expenditures to food (15 per cent), shelter (32 per cent), and clothing (4 per cent). At a disaggregated level, households in the bottom income quintile are more likely to comprise women, children, seniors, single-parents, Indigenous people, and recent immigrants.

The government's Grocery Rebate, announced in Budget 2023 and delivered in July 2023, has reached 11 million low- and modest-income households, particularly single-parents and single seniors, while the Canada Child Benefit helped to lift nearly 435,000 children out of poverty in the first four years since its implementation. Delivering savings for families through affordable early learning and child care is significantly ahead of schedule, with six provinces and territories providing regulated child care for an average of just $10-a-day or less. All other provinces and territories have reduced child care fees by half and are on track to achieve $10-a-day child care by 2026. This means fewer parents, particularly women, have to choose between their family and their career. In February and July 2023, the labour force participation rate for women in their prime working years reached a record of 85.7 per cent, and sat at 85.3 per cent in October 2023.

Reducing the energy costs incurred by those living in energy inefficient housing will help provide greater financial security for vulnerable individuals and their families, and can also contribute to a safer home environment for seniors and those with pre-existing health conditions, who are more likely to be negatively affected by air pollution.

The government is also working to make Canada fairer by Strengthening Competition and Cracking Down on Junk Fees. This could mean more options for Canadians to choose where to shop for groceries, thus creating opportunities for lower prices. Lower-income Canadians will also be supported to improve their financial well-being by lowering the non-sufficient fund (NSF) fees charged by banks. Together, these actions will especially benefit lower-income Canadians who spend a larger amount of their income on necessities by helping them avoid spending money on unfair and unnecessary fees.

As detailed in Chapter 2, measures recently announced by the government include:

Building an Economy that Works for All Canadians

All Canadians are vulnerable to the risks brought about by climate change, however, some people and communities are affected more than others, particularly women, children, and Indigenous people. Devastating climate disasters in 2023, such as wildfires, hurricanes, and flooding, highlighted the direct consequences for rural Canadians and those living in coastal communities, which included evacuations, extensive damage to property and critical infrastructure, and most tragically, the loss of human life. These climate disasters also caused economic harm for businesses and their workers in the affected communities.

Canada's clean economy jobs plan takes action to build a cleaner future. The federal government also directly invests in growing the clean economy through the Canada Infrastructure Bank, the Canada Growth Fund, and the Strategic Innovation Fund, which invest in clean technologies, critical minerals, and industrial transformational and clean growth projects. These investments deliver immediate benefits for Canadian workers as Canadian businesses create new job opportunities, as well as medium- to long-term impacts for vulnerable populations who will gain health benefits from a cleaner environment. For Canadian workers, these clean economy investments will deliver long-term, well-paying careers. A number of major investment tax credits are accompanied by labour requirements that incentivize businesses to pay prevailing union wages and create new apprenticeship opportunities.

Investments in a clean economy are an important part of Canada's plan to reach net-zero by 2050. Achieving this plan will ultimately help protect those that are most at risk of climate change, especially women, Indigenous people, and residents of rural and coastal communities. Fighting climate change also fights environmental racism. Over the short- to long-term, younger generations will benefit from a growing Canadian economy and livable climate, promoting generational equality, while short-term benefits will support all Canadians through increased employment opportunities in good middle-class jobs in the clean economy.

As detailed in Chapter 3, measures announced recently, or in this Fall Economic Statement include:

Effective Government, a Fair Tax System, and a Stable Financial Sector

Good governance and a fair tax system helps to reduce poverty and income inequality by strengthening Canada's social safety net and ensuring the government's continued ability to support Canada's most vulnerable citizens.

This Fall Economic Statement builds on the federal government's previous work, such as the corporate governance diversity disclosures, which promote greater gender, racial, and Indigenous diversity among senior ranks of companies incorporated under the Canada Business Corporations Act, and ensure more Canadians have access to these opportunities.

As detailed in Chapter 4, the 2023 Fall Economic Statement introduces measures to support the ability of all Canadians to access reliable and relevant services and information that might significantly impact their social and economic well-being:

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